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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Music

Jazzfest: Tanya Tagaq will be a stirring experience

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Tanya Tagaq. Photo courtesy of the artist.Tanya Tagaq. Photo courtesy of the artist.

I once had the opportunity to watch Tanya Tagaq perform in what seemed to me the unlikeliest of situations: in the community hall of her own hometown Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, in front of an audience of German tourists sporting thick coats in the middle of August, from a cruise ship making its way through the Northwest Passage, stopping on shore for a chance to learn about Inuit culture. I was mesmerized immediately by both the intensity of her performance as well as the strangely avant-garde quality of it; this style... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: The audio magic of Tin Men & the Telephone

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Photo of Tin Men and the Telephone courtesy of the Ottawa Jazz FestivalPhoto of Tin Men and the Telephone courtesy of the Ottawa Jazz Festival

What will jazz sound like in 100 years?  200?  Would we even recognise this genre if we could somehow live for five centuries, or would “jazz” by that point be unrecognisable to 21st century ears? These questions swirled around my mind as I listed to the incredibly creative sounds of Dutch trio Tin Men and the Telephone, who play the Ottawa Jazz Festival on Tuesday, June 30 at 6 pm at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage. While the roots of the group’s inventive music is definitely based on modern jazz,... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Steve Miller brings his rock legacy

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The crowd in front of Confederation Park's Main Stage for the Steve Miller Band's 2015 Jazzfest performance. All photos by Terry Steeves.The crowd in front of Confederation Park's Main Stage for the Steve Miller Band's 2015 Jazzfest performance. All photos by Terry Steeves.

The bright lights from Ottawa Jazzfest’s Main Stage matched the sky’s lovely colour as the sun begun to set and cast a warm pink glow on the massive crowd that had gathered in Confederation Park. Bouts of cheering and applause began immediately at the very sight of Steve Miller as he and his band boarded the stage. The familiar whistle intro to “Jungle Love” (1977) kicked off the nostalgic journey into some of the most memorable and well-loved pieces of classic rock ever written. Since the band’s formation nearly 50... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Edmonson dazzles the audience

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Kat Edmonson performs at Ottawa Jazzfest on June 24, 2015. All photos by Marina Irick.Kat Edmonson performs at Ottawa Jazzfest on June 24, 2015. All photos by Marina Irick.

The stage felt like a cozy living room — five red roses in a glass vase, a few decorative lamps, a guitar, a bass, and a shiny blue drum kit – and set the mood when Texas-born singer Kat Edmonson took the Ottawa Jazzfest’s Marion Dewar stage at City Hall on Wednesday night. Her band members wore black suits and ties and she waltzed on stage in a classy little black dress, ready to dazzle the audience and transport us back in time. Opening the show with one of her... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Huey Lewis and the News take Ottawa back in time

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Huey Lewis and the News performing at Jazzfest. All photos by Terry Steeves.Huey Lewis and the News performing at Jazzfest. All photos by Terry Steeves.

Thirty-seven years ago, two San Francisco Bay area rival bands joined forces, and blended their influences of big band jazz with 50’s rock ‘n roll and doo-wop. The result was Huey Lewis and the News, who would go on to carve their definitive sound into 1980’s pop culture, and into our hearts. Wednesday night’s show on the Jazzfest’s Main Stage at Confederation Park brought us back in time to an era of big hair, shoulder pads, MTV, and great dance music. The boys went straight to work to deliver a... | Continue reading article

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Polaris Prize Nominees: B.A. Johnston at Irene’s on Friday

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Photo by Mat Dunlap. All images from B.A. Johnston's website.Photo by Mat Dunlap. All images from B.A. Johnston's website.

This piece is part of a mini-series covering some of the artists nominated for the Polaris Prize, who are playing shows in Ottawa. Hamilton’s B.A. Johnston, the tenaciously-touring troubadour has become a cornerstone of the Canadian music scene in that when he tours this vast nation, he really covers all of it. His live shows are hilarious and his honest tunes endearing.  Before his show tomorrow at Irene’s, we managed to sneak in a little Facebook interview with B.A. to talk about life on the Canadian highways, Canadian festivals, factor... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Classical wizardry meets the freedom of jazz

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Photo of GoGo Penguin by Arlen ConnelyPhoto of GoGo Penguin by Arlen Connely

Let’s play a game of “what if”.  As in: What if Chopin, Miles Davis and DJ Shadow were playing in the same concert?  What would a blend of classical music, jazz and instrumental hip-hop sound like? Luckily for local music lovers, we now have an opportunity to hear what such a magical concert may have been like thanks to GoGo Penguin, who are playing this coming Sunday, June 28 at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage as part of the Ottawa Jazz Festival. This brilliant trio from Manchester, U.K. combine a wide array... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Moon Hooch brings cave music to the Capital

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Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch. All photos by Marina Irick.Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch. All photos by Marina Irick.

From the subways of New York City to the Ottawa After Dark stage in a glowing tent at Jazzfest, “Moon Hooch” – one drum kit and two saxophones – awed an Ottawa crowd on Tuesday night with their unique “cave music” sound, which they describe on their website as wild, jagged, free and natural to live in. The moment the trio stepped on the stage, their chemistry and youthful energy was apparent – the first pound on the drum kit and blasts of the saxophone turned the mellow mood of... | Continue reading article

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Jazzfest: Jamie Cullum will blow you away, too

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Jamie Cullum performing in 2013, photo from his websiteJamie Cullum performing in 2013, photo from his website

This firecracker livened up the British jazz scene upon his arrival in 2003 at the tender age of 24. I will never forget the first time I saw Jamie Cullum perform. It was over a decade ago when I was living in Toronto and a friend of mine who has an ear for cool, up-and-coming musicians, invited me to Jamie’s show at the last minute. It was at a tiny venue, standing room only. And? I was blown away! Jamie’s stage presence and showmanship were phenomenal, equally matched by his sheer... | Continue reading article

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“Moonshine, and train songs, gunfights and gospel tunes”

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Photo courtesy of Murder Murder.Photo courtesy of Murder Murder.

Gloria Song has been performing for over a decade, most recently as a member in Scary Bear Soundtrack, who are performing alongside Murder Murder on June 25, 2015. Hailing from Sudbury, Ontario, Murder Murder guarantees “all murder ballads, all the time.” They aren’t exaggerating: that’s exactly what their music is. Self-described as a “bloodgrass band” – that is, a combination of bluegrass, outlaw country, and exclusively murder ballads – Murder Murder serves up stories of homicide against a surprisingly upbeat toe-tapping soundtrack in a variety of contexts and locations, from... | Continue reading article

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